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Press release
March 13, 2017

Senate Vote to Confirm Verma to Head CMS Puts Health Care for 140 Million People at Risk

Advocates Policies that Punish Low-Income Families

Washington, D.C.Following is the statement of Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, on the [expected] Senate vote confirming Seema Verma as Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“With this vote, Senate Republicans have put the agency that oversees health care for more than 100 million Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and ACA Marketplace enrollees into the hands of someone who has no substantive Medicare or Marketplace experience and a deeply concerning Medicaid track record.

“As the primary architect of the Healthy Indiana Plan and other Medicaid waivers, Ms. Verma championed policies that sought to push unmanageable costs on to low-income working families, and subject them to punitive and ineffective bureaucratic requirements.

“These policies include locking poor individuals out of Medicaid coverage when they are unable pay premiums, and work requirements that would make coverage contingent on having a job. Neither research, nor common sense, supports that approach. They simply punish people for being poor and limit access to care for those who need it most.

“The responsibility of running CMS, which provides care for 40 percent of the nation’s children and over 90 percent of its seniors, requires a thorough understanding of Medicare, Medicaid and the individual market, as well as an approach to health care that helps lifts people out of poverty, rather than punish them for being poor. Ms Verma’s record indicates neither none of these abilities.”